Aralola Olamuyiwa

First Female Talking Drummer

Ara was born on January 23, 1975, in Lagos State, but hails from Ondo State. She was born into a music-loving family that also appreciated excellence. Her journey into musical excellence began at the tender age of 5 when she started playing the traditional drum called Konga, and she wrote her first song before age 10.

She spent a good part of her childhood in Warri, Delta State, where she attended Nana Primary School, Our Ladies High School, and Folashaye Girls Grammar School. She then had a brief stay at the University of Ilorin as a fresh law student, left and later returned to Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma, Benin, Edo State, to study English Language.

Before now, she was also called Sherifat, which is her name from birth. Back in the days, her stage names were ‘Tracy’ back in 1995-1996, between 1996 –1997, her stage name was changed to ‘Yemoja’ and by 1998-2000, she dropped ‘Yemoja to ‘Lolaola’. By the year 2000, her stage name had become ‘ARA’. ARA is now a brand and an institution that has come to stay. She came to the limelight in 2000 with her first video titled ‘Which one you dey” which was released in 1998/99 and produced by Obafemi Lasode’s Even Ezra studios.

She is Nigeria’s first and Africa’s first female talking drummer of international repute; she is a songwriter, entertainer, choreographer, singer, producer, businesswoman, mother, and philanthropist.

She is very passionate about her roots and culture as well as projecting Nigeria to the world through her talking drum, through music and through movies. Her culture distinguishes her.

She performed for the Queen of England (now of blessed memory), President Bill Clinton of the USA, President Olusegun Obasanjo, President Muhammad Buhari and President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria. The Black Mayors Caucus in America, Evander Holyfield, Wesley Snipes and Broadway executives. She once collaborated with 2face Idibia for the remake of Ebenezer Obey’s classic “Olomi”

She has so many awards to her credit, including, in 2004, she was appointed the Ambassador to the City of Miami, Florida in the United States of America, and was given the city Key of Miami, she is also the cultural Ambassador of the Ooni of Ife. She is the first female talking drummer on the world stage in a career spanning four decades.

Her dexterity at the talking drum has singled her out among a legion of artists in Africa, it is one of the unique factors that have endeared her to many fans across the world.

She has represented Nigeria at the UNESCO headquarters in France many times during the International Women’s Day celebration, etc. Some of the countries she has performed in are the USA, Canada, Jamaica, India, China, Spain, France, Ghana, the United Kingdom, and others.

Over the years, she has built a dexterous skill and captivating stage attitude, even as she led her talented orchestra to create pulses of exceptionally entertaining African symphony that once accentuated pristine Yoruba existence. The genre of her music is Gangan Fusion. It is a new genre she created, trying to export talking drum, now she plays Afro culture.

2 Comments

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